• Prof. Lamdan

Preparing For Our First Class

August, 2019 (Read before August 27)



Welcome to Public Institutions in Context: Environmental Law. I'm looking forward to spending the semester with you.


Here are answers to frequently asked questions about our course:


Question 1: Do I have to buy the textbook? Do I have to buy the revised 6th edition of the textbook?


We will be using the Funk casebook throughout our class so it will be helpful to have access to a copy of the casebook. There are several copies on reserve in our library. All of the assigned cases are available online as well as in our casebook.


The revised 6th edition of the casebook is almost identical to the original 6th edition, and both versions of the 6th edition are similar to the 5th edition. If you use the 5th edition, the pagination will not align perfectly, but you can use the topical headings in the book as your guide. The syllabus will follow the 6th edition pagination.


Question 2: I've heard PI is hard. Is that true?


Administrative law is different than most of our doctrinal classes, but not more difficult. (And if we find it more difficult, we can get together to talk about it! :-) ) Administrative law is a party, and all of the parts of the tripartite (tripartite = 3 parts) government system are invited! We'll focus on the agencies in the executive branch of the U.S. government, and the power granted agencies by Congress and the President. That means we'll be looking closely at the words of enabling statutes and executive orders and what they empower agencies to do.


Administrative law also focuses on when courts can intervene in agency decisions and how much deference courts are supposed to give to agency decisions. Finally, we'll also talk about the Constitution and how it empowers and limits each branch of government's involvement and influence in agencies' activities.


My goal is always to break things down as practically as possible, focusing on how we can use the tools provided by our government to participate in administrative law. If something in class is confusing, never hesitate to call it out. If things we learn about the system of administrative law raise critical questions, let's discuss them together!


Question 3: Is there cold calling in this class? How does class participation work?


I'm not a huge fan of cold calling, but I am a huge fan of hearing all of our voices and perspectives in class. For that reason, I will assign "discussion leaders" for most of our classes. If you are a "discussion leader," I will ask you questions during the class. If you are listed to lead a class discussion on a day that does not work for you, let me or Sylvia Glover know before class so we can reschedule. If anything prevents you from taking on the role of "discussion leader" let me know. Conversely, if you'd like to lead discussions in additional classes, let me know. Part of your class participation grade will be satisfied by serving as a "discussion leader" in at least one class.


I hope I've answered some of your questions. If you have questions about something I haven't discussed here, please email me at sarah.lamdan@law.cuny.edu or stop by my office.


I have a new office on the 4th floor. If you're nearby, feel free to come by office 4-318 and say hello!


I'd like to get to know you better and make sure that our class meets your expectations and provides a safe and constructive learning space for you. This survey asks some questions to help me get to know you. It's not required, but I look forward to reading the responses I receive.


This blog will provide updates on our course and the readings, as well as an opportunity for you to discuss our course in the comments or post a guest blog post if you'd like. I'm looking forward to learning with you!

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